To me equal access, as it relates to education, means that every student has the right to the same information, equipment, and resources. Whether that access is technologically based or access to tutors or library services, every student is treated the same and has the ability to utilize the resources available in the same way as others. A problem is presented, obviously, when financial resources enter the equation. While we strive to make sure that every student has access and can equally achieve, it is inevitable that schools in more affluent communities will have an easier time achieving this goal than those schools that are in less affluent situations. The challenge is to make sure that all students have the same opportunity to learn.
Roy Johnson, MA, in his article entitled Equal Access to Quality School Facilities writes "Though few studies exist that establish a clear and direct relationship between student achievement and the quality of school facilities, common sense tells us that students in newer and better maintained school facilities are apt to have access to the necessary equipment, teaching staff and environment conducive to learning." An environment that is conducive to learning is what we want for our students, all of our students. Although Mr. Johnson states that few studies have been done, it seems that a study would not be as effective as a trip to Home Depot or Lowes to gather supplies and a community project that would lead to improvement in the environment allowing students a better place to learn. This environment would allow all students, regardless of financial situation, to achieve better. Is the answer to the challenge then more direct community involvement and ownership in the problem? Perhaps that is one solution.
Also, as a teacher I care about my students' success. I want all of my students to have equal opportunity to become a contributing part of the community they will eventually serve. This might mean adjusting how I teach and changing some assignments in my classroom to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to shine. Part of my responsibility might include making sure that supplies are available so that everyone has access, even if this means I absorb the cost at times. I want what is best for my students.